WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has joined Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in introducing bipartisan legislation to authorize the Secretary of Transportation to provide grants to help states, local governments, ports, and transit agencies fund critical transportation projects.

The Transportation Infrastructure Grants and Economic Reinvestment (TIGER) Act would authorize the successful TIGER discretionary grant program created with Reed’s backing as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Currently, the program invests in a variety of major projects across different transportation modes, with projects selected through a transparent, competitive, and merit-based process.

Reed and his colleagues are calling for the TIGER Act to be included in any surface transportation reauthorization bill considered by Congress in the coming weeks.  Congress must act by July 31 or federal funding for many transportation programs will come to a screeching halt.

“We have pressing infrastructure needs.  We should be helping communities to improve and expand transportation choices for the future, but instead we’re at risk of falling further behind.  The TIGER program is critically important for states and local communities to help fund infrastructure projects that create jobs and spur economic growth, and we've seen the tremendous benefits of this program first-hand in Rhode Island," said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD).  "For years, the Senate Appropriations Committee has worked on a bipartisan basis to fund the competitive TIGER program for projects all over the country, but we need to take the step of authorizing the program so we can continue to make investments that connect our communities and help us compete in the global economy.  I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the TIGER program and keep our country moving.”

Reed, who helped create the TIGER grant program in 2009 to provide competitively awarded grants to states and projects that support economic growth and employ local workers, worked with Senator Collins, chairman of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, to include $500 million for TIGER grants in the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Rhode Island relies heavily on federal funding for surface transportation projects and the TIGER program has been an important part of supporting projects that might not otherwise receive federal funding or that could not be started without additional funding.  Since 2009, Rhode Island has received more than $66 million for five TIGER grants.